Explaining its decision, the regulator mentioned concerns regarding the group's financial condition and stability, its lack of experience on the life insurance sector, as well as EIG's heavy reliance on external borrowing.
EIG said it finds the Greek CB's ban on the acquisition unjustified. "... EIG considers that the arguments of the Greek central bank are not described in a professional manner. Furthermore, the group believes that the Greek regulator has not applied the criteria for its evaluation of EIG with the necessary depth, objectiveness and integrity as the article 59 of the Solvency II directive stipulates," EIG said in a statement quoted by See News. EIG also described the arguments used by Bank of Greece as "discriminatory and tendentious".
However, the Bulgarian group said it maintains its decision to further expand on the Greek market. For the time being, EIG will analyze the Greek CB's decision and decide about the steps that it will take.
This is the second EIG attempt to acquire Credit Agricole Life. The first, in 2016, was also rejected by the Greek market regulator because of the solvency capital issues that EIG's Romanian unit had at that time.
EIG, a unit of Eurohold Bulgaria, has operations in nine countries outside Bulgaria - Spain, Italy, Poland, Russia, Ukraine, Romania, Macedonia, Greece and Georgia. The group has over 2.5 million clients with annual revenue of over 330 million euro.